The Osun State governor, Mr. Rauf Aregbesola, has said that workers are parts of the machinery of governments anywhere in the world to serve the people.
Aregbesola stated that it is an erroneous notion to say that the governments exist only for the welfare of workers in any society.
Governments, he argued, will fail should all they focus on payment of salaries aloneand abandon the larger part of the society.
Speaking after attending the Jumat service at the Alhaji Salaudeen Oladejo Memorial Mosque, Osogbo, the state capital, the governor explained that the lingering disagreement between the government and the workers over the modalities for the implementation of the N18,000 minimum wage across the country is premised on the wrong belief that the government must be concerned about the welfare of workers alone.
Zeroing down on Osun State, Aregbesola, who was responding to remarks by the Chief Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Shittu Abdul Ganiyu, said government would then be existing for the welfare of workers alone should all the resources generated be used to pay workers’ salaries.
The cleric had earlier during his sermon, commended the governor for what he called excellent service delivery, but added that governments are meant for workers.
The governor said: “For long, we have been under this erroneous impression that the welfare of the workers alone is the purpose of governance. No! Workers are part of the machinery of government for the delivery of excellent service to the people.
“If you then commit the entire resources belonging to the state to the payment of workers’ salaries, who are only on the payroll of the government, what happens to millions of other people who are also stakeholders in the same state, who are not on the payroll of the government?
“Don’t they have rightsof access to good roads? Don’t they have right of access to qualitative education? Are you not going to provide water for the generality of the people? You must be able to provide good infrastructure, but all these will remain dreams, if all you do is to pay salaries and nothing else remains. When a government commits over 90 per cent of its total earnings on salaries of workers alone, how do you embark on developmental projects?”
The governor said all the financial books in the state are open to the workers, adding that, already the state government had committed a huge chunk of the state funds to the implementation of the minimum wage for workers between salaries grade levels one to seven, while the rest of workers would be taken care of as the resources of the state improves.